Friday, June 26, 2009

Re-inventing Ascott as a real estate firm

KNOWN largely as an owner-operator of serviced residences, CapitaLand unit The Ascott Group will increase its focus on buying, investing in and trading serviced residence assets.

'One of the things I want to do is to re-invent Ascott to be a real estate company with a hospitality arm,' CapitaLand group president and CEO Liew Mun Leong said yesterday. CapitaLand too Ascott private last year. According to Mr Liew, the bulk of Ascott's earnings already come from trading real estate. Hospitality operations make up a small portion of the bottom line and are a 'laborious' way to profits, he said.

Ascott will pay greater attention to deals involving serviced residences but will not be interested in hotels, said Mr Liew. And even with the shift in focus, hospitality operations will remain an 'important value-add' to the business.

Ascott has some 25,000 serviced residence units in the Asia-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East through its three brands - Ascott, Somerset and Citadines.

Mr Liew said prospects are bright for the serviced residence industry in China, Europe and Australia.

Source: Business Times, 20 June 2009

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